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Ray Allen
Ray Allen has hit on 39.8 percent of his threes in his career.
Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

Ray's treys: How Allen has become master of the 3-point shot

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com
Posted Feb 10 2011 12:32PM

In this NBA.com StatsCube study, we break down Ray Allen's game as he prepares to pass Reggie Miller as the most prolific 3-point scorer in NBA history.

Most 3-pointers, NBA history
Player G 3PM 3PA 3P%
Reggie Miller 1,389 2,560 6,486 0.395
Ray Allen 1,073 2,559 6,425 0.398
Jason Kidd 1,239 1,752 5,021 0.349
Dale Ellis 1,209 1,719 4,266 0.403
Peja Stojakovic 781 1,719 4,296 0.400
Chauncey Billups 957 1,685 4,315 0.390
Rashard Lewis 899 1,667 4,277 0.390
Jason Terry 929 1,593 4,205 0.379
Glen Rice 1,000 1,559 3,896 0.400
Eddie Jones 954 1,546 4,147 0.373

It's the extra-early arrivals at the arena every night. It's the hours and hours of practice and preparation. It's the endless energy needed to run a defender off multiple screens every time down the floor. It's the instincts and intelligence to create the perfect passing angle so a teammate can deliver the ball. It's the quiet confidence and the picture-perfect shooting form, from his toes to his fingertips.

It's all of these things, over and over again. From the first one in Philadelphia on Nov. 1, 1996, to the barrage that clinched banner No. 17 in 2008, to the two more that he'll stroke this week to make the record his.

Rightfully his. Ray Allen is meant to own the NBA's record for most career 3-pointers. He defines what a shooter is.

Allen needs one more three to tie Reggie Miller for the most 3-pointers in NBA history and one more to pass him. The record will come Thursday against the Lakers or Sunday against the Heat.

Either way, Allen will stand alone at the top of the list of any player who has attempted a 3-pointer since the line was first painted on NBA floors in 1979.

He'll stand alone, but he won't do it without help.

Most assists on Allen's threes
Player Ast. %
Rajon Rondo 286 11.2%
Sam Cassell 228 8.9%
Luke Ridnour 225 8.8%
Glenn Robinson 126 4.9%
Paul Pierce 115 4.5%
Antonio Daniels 79 3.1%
Earl Watson 79 3.1%
Rashard Lewis 64 2.5%
Anthony Mason 61 2.4%
Brent Barry 52 2.0%
Others 789 30.9%
Unassisted 453 17.7%
Those who passed to him

Of the 2,559 threes that Allen has made in his career, 2,106 (or 82.3 percent) have come by way of an assist from a teammate. That's a smaller percentage than Miller (87.5 percent) and a little less than the league average of 85 percent.

But in his 3 seasons with the Boston Celtics, 89.5 percent of Allen's threes have been assisted. So he's had more help in Boston, creating only one out of every 10 threes himself.

Throughout his career, 80 different players have assisted on Allen's threes. Obviously, Rajon Rondo is the guy who has assisted Allen over the last 3 seasons. But Rondo has also assisted on more of Allen's threes than any teammate that Allen has ever had.

How he gets open

When you have Ray Allen on the floor, defenses are going to do their best to stick with him. So the Celtics have to get find different ways to free Allen beyond the arc. The video to the right is a sample of different ways they do it.

Play 1: In transition

The first priority for any defense is getting back in transition and protecting the basket. But when you're playing the Celtics, you have to find Allen immediately, because if Rondo finds him first, you're in trouble.

Play 2: Simple down-screen

It's a staple of any offense. The wings take their defenders down to the baseline and then run off screens by the big men. And if you can't stick with Allen through one of these, it's going to be a long night.

Play 3: Down-screen flare

Over the course of 14 seasons, Allen has learned how to read his defender pretty well. So when he starts to see his man jump to the top of the screen, he flares to the corner for the open look.

Play 4: Off the dribble

Though most of his threes are assisted, Allen is still dangerous when he puts the ball on the floor. In this play, the Celtics' primary options have been denied, so Allen and Kevin Garnett ad-lib with a simple ball-screen, and when Dwight Howard doesn't contain Allen, he pulls up for another open three.

Play 5: Cross-court screen

Here's where the Celtics get creative. It looks like Allen is going to run off a back-screen from Glen Davis, but instead he heads to the other side of the floor through another screen from Garnett and flares to the corner.

Play 6: Misdirection

More creativity from the Celtics. Allen sets a ball-screen for Rondo, who looks like he's going to get the ball to Shaquille O'Neal in the post. But instead Rondo turns and delivers the ball to Allen, who runs off a double-screen on the weak side.

Where he shoots

Like the rest of the league, Allen shoots better from the corners than he does from other spots on the floor. But over the course of his career, he's taken more than twice as many threes from the wings (1,580) as he has from the corners (716). And the left wing is clearly where he feels most comfortable.

Allens threes by location
Location 3PM 3PA 3PT% %Att %Ast
Left Corner 415 973 0.427 15.1% 91.1%
Left Wing 858 2149 0.399 33.4% 73.9%
Top 261 690 0.378 10.7% 73.2%
Right Wing 722 1843 0.392 28.7% 85.2%
Right Corner 301 697 0.432 10.8% 95.7%
Backcourt 2 73 0.027 1.1% 0.0%
%Att = percentage of total attempts from that spot
%Ast = percentage of makes from that spot that were assisted
In the clutch

If you're a Chicago Bulls fan and you remember the first round series your team played against the Celtics two years ago, you might think that Allen can't miss in the clutch. And the truth is that Allen has been much more clutch with the Celtics than he was in his previous 11 seasons.

Perhaps Allen is just cooler under pressure with so many years of experience. Or perhaps he's benefitting from having other guys on his team to draw the defense's attention. Either way, he's been incredibly clutch in his 3 seasons in Boston, especially when the Celtics absolutely need a basket.

Last 5 min. of 4th or OT, score diff. of 5 or less (either way)

Seasons 3PM 3PA 3P%
First 11 Seasons 120 347 0.346
With Boston 72 187 0.385
Totals 192 534 0.360
* includes postseason

Last 1 min. of 4th or OT, score diff. of 3 or less

Seasons 3PM 3PA 3P%
First 11 Seasons 18 64 0.281
With Boston 23 45 0.511
Totals 41 109 0.376
* includes postseason

Last 30 sec. of 4th or OT, score tied or down 1-3 points

Seasons 3PM 3PA 3P%
First 11 Seasons 10 39 0.256
With Boston 13 21 0.619
Totals 23 60 0.383
* includes postseason

In fact, by one measure, no one in the league has been more clutch than Allen since he arrived in Boston. Of those with at least 15 attempts (FGA + (.44*FTA) in the last 30 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime with the score tied or his team down three points or less, Allen has the best true shooting percentage over the last 3 seasons.

Highest true shooting percentage, last 30 seconds, tie game or down 1-3, since 2007-08

Player FGM FGA 3PM 3PA FTM FTA PTS TS%
Ray Allen 16 32 13 21 5 8 50 70.4%
Jeff Green 8 14 1 5 5 6 22 66.1%
Tim Duncan 12 21 1 2 6 6 31 65.6%
Travis Outlaw 7 13 1 4 5 7 20 62.2%
Rashard Lewis 8 21 5 12 10 10 31 61.0%
FGA + (.44*FTA)>= 15
* includes postseason
More on Allen's threes

• The team Allen has victimized most with his threes is the Toronto Raptors. He's hit 127 threes against Toronto, the most against any team in the league. His 46.5 percent shooting from 3-point range against the Raptors is also his highest against any team.

• Friday is the day of the week on which Allen has hit the most threes (497), but he's shot best on Mondays (42.0 percent).

• January is the month he's hit the most (514), but he's shot best in April (42.3 percent).

• Allen shoots better on the second night of a back-to-back (40.7 percent) than he does with one day of rest (39.5 percent) or two-plus days (39.6 percent).

• Allen has played 1,073 regular season games. And in only 119 of those (11.1 percent) has he failed to hit a 3-pointer. He's hit exactly one in 231 games (21.5 percent), and he's hit five or more in 113 games (10.5 percent).

• Allen's career high is 10 threes, which he hit for the Bucks against the Charlotte Hornets on April 14, 2002. The 10 threes (on 14 attempts) were part of a 47-point night in 98-91 win.

All stats are through Wednesday, Feb. 9.

John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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